[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bacterial outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) have important biological roles in pathogenesis and intercellular interactions, but a general mechanism of OMV formation is lacking. Here we show that the VacJ/Yrb ABC (ATP-binding cassette) transport system, a proposed phospholipid transporter, is involved in OMV formation. Deletion or repression of VacJ/Yrb increases OMV production in two distantly related Gram-negative bacteria, Haemophilus influenzae and Vibrio cholerae. Lipidome analyses demonstrate that OMVs from VacJ/Yrb-defective mutants in H. influenzae are enriched in phospholipids and certain fatty acids. Furthermore, we demonstrate that OMV production and regulation of the VacJ/Yrb ABC transport system respond to iron starvation. Our results suggest a new general mechanism of OMV biogenesis based on phospholipid accumulation in the outer leaflet of the outer membrane. This mechanism is highly conserved among Gram-negative bacteria, provides a means for regulation, can account for OMV formation under all growth conditions, and might have important pathophysiological roles in vivo.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Nature Communications
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acinetobacter baumannii, A. nosocomialis, and A. pittii have recently emerged as opportunistic human pathogens capable of causing severe human disease; however, the molecular mechanisms employed by Acinetobacter to cause disease remain poorly understood. Many pathogenic members of the genus Acinetobacter contain genes predicted to encode proteins required for the biogenesis of a type II secretion system (T2SS), which have been shown to mediate virulence in many Gram-negative organisms. Here we demonstrate that Acinetobacter nosocomialis strain M2 produces a functional T2SS, which is required for full virulence in both the Galleria mellonella and murine pulmonary infection models. Importantly, this is the first bona fide secretion system shown to be required for virulence in Acinetobacter. Using bioinformatics, proteomics, and mutational analyses, we show that Acinetobacter employs its T2SS to export multiple substrates, including the lipases LipA and LipH as well as the protease CpaA. Furthermore, the Acinetobacter T2SS, which is found scattered amongst five distinct loci, does not contain a dedicated pseudopilin peptidase, but instead relies on the type IV prepilin peptidase, reinforcing the common ancestry of these two systems. Lastly, two of the three secreted proteins characterized in this study require specific chaperones for secretion. These chaperones contain an N-terminal transmembrane domain, are encoded adjacently to their cognate effector, and their disruption abolishes type II secretion of their cognate effector. Bioinformatic analysis identified putative chaperones located adjacent to multiple previously known type II effectors from several Gram-negative bacteria, which suggests that T2SS chaperones constitute a separate class of membrane-associated chaperones mediating type II secretion.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The genus Acinetobacter encompasses multiple nosocomial opportunistic pathogens of increasing worldwide relevance because of their ability to survive
exposure to various antimicrobial and sterilization agents. Among these, A. baumannii, A. nosocomialis and A. pittii are the most frequently isolated in hospitals around the world. Despite the growing incidence of multi-drug resistant Acinetobacter species, little is known about the factors contributing to its pathogenesis. New strategies for treating and managing infections
caused by multi-drug resistant Acinetobacter strains are urgently needed, and this requires a detailed understanding of the pathobiology of these organisms. In recent
years, some virulence factors important for Acinetobacter colonization have started to emerge. In this review we focus on several recently described virulence factors that act at
the bacterial surface level, such as capsule, O-linked protein glycosylation, and adhesins. Furthermore, we describe the current knowledge on the type II (T2SS) and type
VI (T6SS) secretion systems present in these strains.
No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Journal of Bacteriology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ralstonia solanacearum is one of the most lethal phytopathogens in the world. Due to its broad host range, it can cause wilting disease in many
plant species of economic interest. In this work, we identified the O-oligosaccharyltransferase (O-OTase) responsible for protein O-glycosylation in R. solanacearum. An analysis of the glycoproteome revealed that 20 proteins, including type IV pilins are substrates of this general glycosylation
system. Although multiple glycan forms were identified, the majority of the glycopeptides were modified with a pentasaccharide
composed of HexNAc-(Pen)-dHex3, similar to the O antigen subunit present in the lipopolysaccharide of multiple R. solanacearum strains. Disruption of the O-OTase led to the total loss of protein glycosylation, together with a defect in biofilm formation and reduced pathogenicity
towards tomato plants. Comparative proteomic analysis revealed that the loss of glycosylation is not associated with widespread
proteome changes. Only the levels of a single glycoprotein, the type IV pilin, were diminished in the absence of glycosylation.
In parallel, disruption of glycosylation triggered an increase in the levels of a surface lectin homologous to Pseudomonas PA-IIL. These results reveal the important role of glycosylation in the pathogenesis of R. solanacearum.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mycoplasma mycoides subsp. capri (Mmc) and subsp. mycoides (Mmm) are important ruminant pathogens worldwide causing diseases such as pleuropneumonia, mastitis and septicaemia. They express galactofuranose residues on their surface, but their role in pathogenesis has not yet been determined. The M. mycoides genomes contain up to several copies of the glf gene, which encodes an enzyme catalyzing the last step in the synthesis of galactofuranose. We generated a deletion of the glf gene in a strain of Mmc using genome transplantation and tandem repeat endonuclease coupled cleavage (TREC) with yeast as an intermediary host for the genome editing. As expected, the resulting YCp1.1-Δglf strain did not produce the galactofuranose containing glycans as shown by immunoblots and immuno-electronmicroscopy employing a galactofuranose specific monoclonal antibody. The mutant lacking galactofuranose exhibited a decreased growth rate and a significantly enhanced adhesion to small ruminant cells. The mutant was also "leaking" as revealed by a β-galactosidase-based assay employing a membrane impermeable substrate. These findings indicate that galactofuranose-containing polysaccharides conceal adhesins and are important for membrane integrity. Unexpectedly, the mutant strain showed increased serum resistance.
No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Molecular Microbiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Infections with Acinetobacter baumannii, one of the most troublesome and least studied multidrug-resistant superbugs, are increasing at alarming rates. A. baumannii encodes a type VI secretion system (T6SS), an antibacterial apparatus of Gram-negative bacteria used to kill competitors. Expression of the T6SS varies among different strains of A. baumannii, for which the regulatory mechanisms are unknown. Here, we show that several multidrug-resistant strains of A. baumannii harbor a large, self-transmissible resistance plasmid that carries the negative regulators for T6SS. T6SS activity is silenced in plasmid-containing, antibiotic-resistant cells, while part of the population undergoes frequent plasmid loss and activation of the T6SS. This activation results in T6SS-mediated killing of competing bacteria but renders A. baumannii susceptible to antibiotics. Our data show that a plasmid that has evolved to harbor antibiotic resistance genes plays a role in the differentiation of cells specialized in the elimination of competing bacteria.
Preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The biotechnological relevance of protein glycosylation has exponentially grown in recent years. With the advances in protein glycosylation research, new possibilities for glyco-engineering have arisen, and a wide array of glycans can be designed and potentially transferred to target proteins in the biotechnologically relevant host Escherichia coli. Here we provide insight on how to select the best strains and plasmids. We also describe methods for determination of glycan expression and assembly, protein glycosylation using western blot, and preparation of samples for mass spectrometry.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Multiple species within the Acinetobacter genus are nosocomial opportunistic pathogens of increasing relevance worldwide. Among the virulence factors utilized by these bacteria are the type IV pili and a protein O-glycosylation system. Glycosylation is mediated by O-oligosaccharyltransferases (O-OTases), enzymes that transfer the glycan from a lipid carrier to target proteins. O-OTases are difficult to identify due to similarities with the WaaL ligases that catalyze the last step in LPS synthesis. A bioinformatics analysis revealed the presence of two genes encoding putative O-OTases or WaaL ligases in most of the strains within the genus Acinetobacter. Employing A. nosocomialis M2 and A. baylyi ADP1 as model systems, we show that these genes encode two O-OTases, one devoted uniquely to type IV pilin, and the other one responsible for glycosylation of multiple proteins. With the exception of ADP1, the pilin-specific OTases in Acinetobacter resemble the TfpO/PilO O-Otase from Pseudomonas aeruginosa. In ADP1 instead, the two O-OTases are closely related to PglL, the general O-OTase first discovered in Neisseria. However, one of them is exclusively dedicated to the glycosylation of the pilin-like protein ComP. Our data reveal an intricate and remarkable evolutionary pathway for bacterial O-OTases and provide novel tools for glycoengineering.
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Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Molecular Microbiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human infection with Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) is a major cause of postdiarrheal hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), a life-threatening condition characterized by hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia, and acute renal failure. E. coli O157:H7 is the dominant STEC serotype associated with HUS worldwide, although non-O157 STEC serogroups can cause a similar disease. The detection of anti-O157 E. coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS) antibodies in combination with stool culture and detection of free fecal Shiga toxin considerably improves the diagnosis of STEC infections. In the present study, we exploited a bacterial glycoengineering technology to develop recombinant glycoproteins consisting of the O157, O145, or O121 polysaccharide attached to a carrier protein as serogroup-specific antigens for the serological diagnosis of STEC-associated HUS. Our results demonstrate that using these antigens in indirect ELISAs (glyco-iELISAs), it is possible to clearly discriminate between STEC O157-, O145-, and O121-infected patients and healthy children, as well as to confirm the diagnosis in HUS patients for whom the classical diagnostic procedures failed. Interestingly, a specific IgM response was detected in almost all the analyzed samples, indicating that it is possible to detect the infection in the early stages of the disease. Additionally, in all the culture-positive HUS patients, the serotype identified by glyco-iELISAs was in accordance with the serotype of the isolated strain, indicating that these antigens are valuable not only for diagnosing HUS caused by the O157, O145, and O121 serogroups but also for serotyping and guiding the subsequent steps to confirm diagnosis.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Journal of Clinical Microbiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) are spherical and bilayered particles that are naturally released from the outer membrane (OM) of Gram-negative bacteria. They have been proposed to possess several biological roles in pathogenesis and interbacterial interactions. Additionally, OMVs have been suggested as potential vaccine candidates against infections caused by pathogenic bacteria like Haemophilus influenzae, a human pathogen of the respiratory tract. Unfortunately, there is still a lack of fundamental knowledge regarding OMV biogenesis, protein sorting into OMVs, OMV size and quantity, as well as OMV composition in H. influenzae. Thus, this study comprehensively characterized and compared OMVs and OMs derived from heterologous encapsulated as well as nonencapsulated H. influenzae strains. Semiquantitative immunoblot analysis revealed that certain OM proteins are enriched or excluded in OMVs suggesting the presence of regulated protein sorting mechanisms into OMVs as well as interconnected OMV biogenesis mechanisms in H. influenzae. Nanoparticle tracking analysis, transmission electron microscopy, as well as protein and lipooligosaccharide quantifications demonstrated that heterologous H. influenzae strains differ in their OMV size and quantity. Lipidomic analyses identified palmitic acid as the most abundant fatty acid, while phosphatidylethanolamine was found to be the most dominant phospholipid present in OMVs and the OM of all strains tested. Proteomic analysis confirmed that H. influenzae OMVs contain vaccine candidate proteins as well as important virulence factors. These findings contribute to the understanding of OMV biogenesis as well as biological roles of OMVs and, in addition, may be important for the future development of OMV based vaccines against H. influenzae infections.
No preview · Article · Dec 2014 · International Journal of Medical Microbiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The opportunistic human pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii persists in the healthcare setting because of its ability to survive exposure to various antimicrobial and sterilization agents. A. baumannii's ability to cause multiple infection types complicates diagnosis and treatment. Rapid detection of A. baumannii infections would likely improve treatment outcomes. Recently published Acinetobacter glycoproteomic data show the prevalence of O-linked glycoproteins, suggesting the possibility for an O-glycan-based detection technology. O-glycan biosynthesis is required for protein glycosylation and capsular polysaccharide production in A. baumannii. Recent publications demonstrate key roles for protein glycosylation and capsular polysaccharide in the pathogenicity of A. baumannii. Targeted antimicrobial development against O-glycan biosynthesis may produce new effective treatment options for A. baumannii infections. Here, we discuss how the data gathered through Acinetobacter glycoproteomics can be used to develop technologies for rapid diagnosis and reveal potential antimicrobial targets. In addition, we consider the efficacy of glycoconjugate vaccine development against A. baumannii.
No preview · Article · Dec 2014 · Expert Review of Proteomics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abstract Biogenesis and trafficking of membrane vesicles are essential and well-studied processes in eukaryotes. In contrast, vesiculation in bacteria is not well understood. Outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) are produced in Gram-negative bacteria by blebbing of the outer membrane. In addition to the roles in pathogenesis, cell-to-cell communication and stress response, recent work has suggested that OMVs play important roles in immunomodulation and the establishment and balance of the gut microbiota. In this review we discuss the known and novel roles of OMVs and the different biogenesis models proposed, and address the evidence for cargo selection into OMVs. We also discuss the growing evidence for the existence of membrane vesicles in Gram-positive bacteria and Archaea. Due to their biological importance and promising applications in vaccinology, the biogenesis of OMVs is an important topic in microbiology.
No preview · Article · Aug 2014 · Biological Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Brucellosis is a highly contagious zoonosis that affects livestock and human beings. Laboratory diagnosis of bovine brucellosis mainly relies on serological diagnosis using serum and/or milk samples. Although there are several serological tests with different diagnostic performance and capacity to differentiate vaccinated from infected animals, there is still no standardized reference antigen for the disease. Here we validate the first recombinant glycoprotein antigen, an N-formylperosamine O-polysaccharide-protein conjugate (OAg-AcrA), for diagnosis of bovine brucellosis. This antigen can be produced in homogeneous batches without the need of culturing pathogenic brucellae; all characteristics that make it appropriate for standardization. An indirect immunoassay based on the detection of anti O-polysaccharide IgG antibodies in bovine samples was developed coupling OAg-AcrA to magnetic beads or ELISA plates. As a proof of concept and to validate the antigen, we analyzed serum, whole blood and milk samples obtained from non-infected, experimentally infected and vaccinated animals included in a vaccination/infection trial performed in our laboratory as well as more than 1000 serum and milk samples obtained from naturally infected and S19-vaccinated animals from Argentina. Our results demonstrate that OAg-AcrA-based assays are highly accurate for diagnosis of bovine brucellosis, even in vaccinated herds, using different types of samples and in different platforms. We propose this novel recombinant glycoprotein as an antigen suitable for the development of new standard immunological tests for screening and confirmatory diagnosis of bovine brucellosis in regions or countries with brucellosis-control programs.
No preview · Article · Aug 2014 · Veterinary Microbiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vaccines developing immune responses toward surface carbohydrates conjugated to proteins are effective in preventing infection and death by bacterial pathogens. Traditional production of these vaccines utilizes complex synthetic chemistry to acquire and conjugate the glycan to a protein. However, glycoproteins produced by bacterial protein glycosylation systems are significantly easier to produce, and could possible be used as vaccine candidates. In this work, we functionally expressed the Burkholderia pseudomallei O polysaccharide (OPS II), the Campylobacter jejuni oligosaccharyltransferase (OTase), and a suitable glycoprotein (AcrA) in a designer E. coli strain with a higher efficiency for production of glycoconjugates. We were able to produce and purify the OPS II-AcrA glycoconjugate, and MS analysis confirmed correct glycan was produced and attached. We observed the attachment of the O-acetylated deoxyhexose directly to the acceptor protein, which expands the range of substrates utilized by the OTase PglB. Injection of the glycoprotein into mice generated an IgG immune response against B. pseudomallei, and this response was partially protective against an intranasal challenge. Our experiments show that bacterial engineered glycoconjugates can be utilized as vaccine candidates against B. pseudomallei. Additionally, our new E. coli strain SDB1 is more efficient in glycoprotein production, and could have additional applications in the future.
Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · Frontiers in Microbiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The opportunistic human pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii is a concern to health care systems worldwide due to its persistence in clinical settings and the growing frequency of multiple drug resistant infections. To combat this threat it is necessary to understand factors associated with disease and environmental persistence of A. baumannii. Recently it was shown that a single biosynthetic pathway was responsible for the generation of capsule polysaccharide and O-linked protein glycosylation. Due to the requirement of these carbohydrates for virulence and the non-template driven nature of glycan biogenesis we investigated the composition, diversity and properties of the Acinetobacter glycoproteome. Utilizing global and targeted mass spectrometry methods we examined 15 strains and found extensive glycan diversity in the O-linked glycoproteome of Acinetobacter. Comparison of the 26 glycoproteins identified revealed that different A. baumannii strains target similar protein substrates, both in characteristics of the sites of O-glycosylation and protein identity. Surprisingly, glycan micro-heterogeneity was also observed within nearly all isolates examined demonstrating glycan heterogeneity is a widespread phenomena in Acinetobacter O-linked glycosylation. By comparing the 11 main glycoforms and over 20 alternative glycoforms characterized within the 15 strains, trends within the glycan utilized for O-linked glycosylation could be observed. These trends reveal Acinetobacter O-linked glycosylation favors short (3 to 5 residue) glycans with limited branching containing negatively charged sugars such as GlcNAc3NAcA4OAc or legionaminic/ pseudaminic acid derivatives. These observations suggest that although highly diverse, the capsule/O-linked glycan biosynthetic pathways generate glycans with similar characteristics across all A. baumannii.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bacteria of the Burkholderia cepacia complex (Bcc) are pathogens of humans, plants, and animals. Burkholderia cenocepacia is one of the most common Bcc species infecting cystic fibrosis (CF) patients and its carriage is associated with poor prognosis. In this study, we characterized a general O-linked protein glycosylation system in B. cenocepacia K56-2. The PglLBc O-oligosaccharyltransferase (O-OTase), encoded by the cloned gene bcal0960, was shown to be capable of transferring a heptasaccharide from the Campylobacter jejuni N-glycosylation system to a Neisseria meningitides-derived acceptor protein in an Escherichia coli background, indicating that the enzyme has relaxed specificities for both the sugar donor and protein acceptor. In B cenocepacia K56-2, PglLBc is responsible for the glycosylation of 23 proteins involved in diverse cellular processes. Mass spectrometry analysis revealed that these proteins are modified with a trisaccharide HexNAc-HexNAc-Hex, which is unrelated to the O-antigen biosynthetic process. The glycosylation sites that were identified existed within regions of low complexity, rich in serine, alanine, and proline. Disruption of bcal0960 abolished glycosylation and resulted in reduced swimming motility and attenuated virulence towards both plant and insect model organisms. This study demonstrates the first example of post-translational modification in Bcc with implications for pathogenesis.
No preview · Article · Apr 2014 · Molecular Microbiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Outer membrane vesicles (OMV) are spherical membranous structures released from the outer membrane (OM) of Gram-negative bacteria. OMV have been proposed to play several different roles during both pathogenesis and symbiosis. Despite the fact that OMV were described several decades ago, their biogenesis is a poorly characterized process. Whether OMV are produced by an active mechanism or by passive disintegration of the OM is a still matter of controversy. Bacteroides fragilis and Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron are important members of the human microbiota. In this work, we determined and compared the protein compositions of OM and OMV from B. fragilis and B. thetaiotaomicron. SDS-PAGE analysis of both fractions revealed dramatically different protein profiles. Proteomic analysis of OM and OMV in B. fragilis identified more than 40 proteins found exclusively in OMV and more than 30 proteins detectable only in the OM. The OMV-specific proteome showed a high prevalence of glycosidases and proteases, some of which were shown to be active in vitro. Similar results were obtained for B. thetaiotaomicron. Most of the OMV-exclusive proteins were acidic. Based on these results, we propose that these species possess machinery devoted to selectively pack acidic proteins into the OMV. These OMV equipped with hydrolytic enzymes could help in securing nutrients for the benefit of the whole bacterial community present in the microbiota, uncovering a novel function for bacterial OMV.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bacterial O-Oligosaccharyltransferases (O-OTases) constitute a growing family of enzymes that catalyse the transfer of a glycan from a lipid carrier to protein acceptors. O-OTases are inner membrane proteins that display limited sequence similarity, except for the Wzy_C signature domain also present in a predicted periplasmic loop of the WaaL ligase, the enzyme responsible for transferring the O antigen to the lipid A core. The mechanism of O-OTase-dependent glycosylation is poorly understood. In this work, conserved amino acid residues in the O-OTases were replaced with alanine in PglL, the O-OTase of Neisseria meningitidis. The activities of wild-type PglL and its mutant derivatives were analysed in vivo in engineered E. coli cells, and in in vitro assays. We identified two additional sites of pilin glycosylated exclusively by PglL in E. coli. Both sites are modified with phosphoglycerol (PG) by different enzymes in N. gonorrhoeae and N. meningitidis. Limited proteolysis experiments revealed a conformational change that is triggered upon interaction of the C-terminal region of PglL with the lipid-linked oligosaccharide (LLO) substrate. These experiments showed that Q178 and Y405 are required for optimal function, whereas H349 is essential for activity and performs a critical role in the interaction with LLO. The equivalent His residue is also essential for WaaL activity, which suggests a common mechanism for both enzymes, and supports the hypothesis that O-glycosylation and LPS synthesis are evolutionarily related. These results contribute to the elucidation of the mechanism of O-OTases, which are promising targets for novel antibiotics and present an enormous potential for glycoengineering novel vaccines and therapeutics.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: O-glycopeptides are often acidic owing to the frequent occurrence of acidic saccharides in the glycan, rendering traditional proteomic workflows that rely on positive mode tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) less effective. In this report, we demonstrate the utility of negative mode ultraviolet photodissociation (UVPD) MS for the characterization of acidic O-linked glycopeptide anions. This method was evaluated for a series of singly- and multiply-deprotonated glycopeptides from the model glycoprotein kappa casein, resulting in production of both peptide and glycan product ions that afforded 100% sequence coverage of the peptide and glycan moieties from a single MS/MS event. The most abundant and frequent peptide sequence ions were a/x-type products, which, importantly, were found to retain the labile glycan modifications. The glycan-specific ions mainly arose from glycosidic bond cleavages (B, Y, C, and Z ions) in addition to some less common cross-ring cleavages. Based on the UVPD fragmentation patterns, an automated database searching strategy (based on the MassMatrix algorithm) was designed that is specific for the analysis of glycopeptide anions by UVPD. This algorithm was used to identify glycopeptides from mixtures of glycosylated and non-glycosylated peptides, sequence both glycan and peptide moieties simultaneously, and pinpoint the correct site(s) of glycosylation. This methodology was applied to uncover novel site-specificity of the O-linked glycosylated OmpA/MotB from the "superbug" A. baumannii to help aid in the elucidation of the functional role that protein glycosylation plays in pathogenesis.
No preview · Article · Sep 2013 · Analytical Chemistry